Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
To overhaul, or even slightly modify the Tigers lineup at this point would be A. Panic defined as sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.
We will go apocryphal for option B. because it's attributed to many, but the definition of insanity is (a cliche) doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results.
I hate to be the guy that says the Tigers making linuep changes now is 'a little bit of both,' but it really is. I'd lean toward option B though because there isn't an August and September left to work out the troubles in the offense. There's potentially only two more games.
Sometimes panic is a reasonable feeling. I'm on an elevator 84 stories up and the pulley snapped. I'd actually question your sanity if you DIDN'T panic in that situation. The wires holding the Tigers season together haven't snapped, but they're fraying quickly as just two allowable losses remain. At least put your hand OVER the red button. If the Tigers went absolutely wacky with lineup modifications, like say, I dunno benching Miguel Cabrera (that'd be the most extreme move, right? No, benching Peralta or Martinez now would be that actually.) you'd panic and go ape sh^t on Leyland, then I'd remind you the Tigers were lifeless, impotent and lethargic against John Lackey yesterday. Granted, it's been a pitcher'ss strike zone all series and Lackey had a sensational curve ball, but the Tigers were totally lost outside of Martinez and Peralta.
If you're still steaming at benching the presumptive MVP, IF Cabrera sat, could it be ANY worse than yesterday? Yea, they could be no hit, but in all reality no runs is no runs.
The Tigers are averaging 2.87 runs a game in the playoffs. They're 'hitting' .231 with an OPS of .631. It's bleak at this point. My only defense of Detroit's anemic offense is that the entire postseason has been without a bevy of runs. The Cardinals, up 3-1 on banged up Dodgers team, are hitting .182 for October. But, they've done little things like having rookie Carlos Martinez come in and throw a 100, and someone name Seth Maness part of a piece meal bullpen (which they seem to do every October) to replace their closer, Edward Mujica, whose 15 minutes ran out late in the season.
I like exceptional pitching, but this has all been boring. You CAN have too much pizza!
Yep, my 'excuse' for the Tigers offensive offense is that their battles have been endemic of the entire MLB postseason, and with a pained GREATEST HITTER ALIVE, their 'little things' aren't good enough right now to beat Boston's 'little things.'
Verlander was historic in Game 3. Clayton Kershaw, who may not even start twice in the NLCS, was almost equally indomitable in Game 2 of that series. He, and his relievers allowed just 2 Cardinal hits, and 4 baserunners. Los Angeles lost 1-0. They're without Matt Kemp and whether it was brilliance or accident, beaning the Dodgers hottest hitter, Hanley Ramirez, in Game 1 basically neutralized the LA offense. So Tiger fans, save me the 'this only happens to us bullshit.'
Again, panic to change the lineup - to whatever degree - or is it insanity to leave it as is?
It took 18 postseason strikeouts, but Jim Leyland has at least considered benching Austin Jackson. From James Schmel at MLive.com.
"The only thing you could think about would possibly play Donnie in center field," he said after the Tigers' 1-0 loss to Boston in Game 3, which left the Tigers down two games to one in the best-of-seven series. "I would think that would be the only move you could think about. Thought about that one time in the series."
Before the LCS, being prophetic and envisioning more hitting struggles, I offered several suggestions to ignite SOME offense, even at the expense of putting some defenders in precarious positions. Those are here.
Leyland's right. He's got few moves left on his chess board at this point in the series. Have you ever played, poorly? It'll be like moving your King behind and around the handful of remaning pawn pieces, just holding out until the last one is picked off and it's checkmate.
After three games, I think brazen ole me would hesitate to try to move Castellanos into the lineup due to an 'injury.' That's why I thought it'd be wise to start with the series with him out there - less pressure on him. Now, you'd be tossing an inexperienced player into a vice.
So, since I'm leaning towards you're f%^king crazy Bro (sorry, I'm acutely aware of mental health and that was wrong, but I was going for affect), what can Leyland do?
Let's try the pre-ALCS exercise once again knowing where things lay now.
3. sit Cabrera?
4. DOES ANYONE IN THE NL WANT A $214 MILLION DOLLAR 1B WHO IS A $14 DOLLAR ONE IN OCTOBER? ANY LAST PLACE TEAMS ASSURED OF NEVER MAKING OCTOBER WANT THIS GUY?!
8. Oh, we can't do that...
Sorry. For realz now.
1. Infante 2B
2. Avila C (More BBs than any Tiger in the postseason. Maybe if on base...)
3. Cabrera 3B (Cabrera can get some better pitches to hit, and if not...)
4. Peralta SS (Perhaps Peralta's hot bat can knock in someone at the top who hasn't struck out)
5. Martinez DH
6. Fielder 1B
7. Hunter RF
8. Dirks LF
9. Kelly CF
Just trying to get the strikeouts as far away from the top of the lineup as possible.
With the Tigers nerves and sanity teetering on the edge, at this point, what you'd call panic, is what I'd call managing.